NSELA members attended a session during the 2010 NSTA Conference in Philadelphia to learn about NSELA Working Groups. The Working Groups are a new initiative of NSELA to provide NSELA members with opportunities to develop collaborative networks focused on science education issues relevant to their roles as leaders. The session provided an opportunity for participants to meet; to begin discussions with other NSELA members who have share interests and challenges in science education; and, to explore structures for collaboration and avenues for continued communication within the NSELA working group.
Each NSELA working group will have a board liaison, a volunteer coordinator, and NSELA members who will share experiences and strategies to address one of the five selected topics. An announcement will be posted on www.nsela.org in the coming weeks to invite NSELA members to join the working group of their choice. NSELA members interested in the working groups will be able to participate through the links on NSELA’s website and /or by attending individual working group sessions at the area or national NSTA conferences.
1. Leadership for Sustainability
This working group invites NSELA members to collaboratively explore how to build and sustain leadership at the local, state, and national level. All science leaders, from novice through veteran, need skills to advocate for and sustain their local missions in science education. By focusing on building leadership capacity at all levels within the science community, science leaders can be important partners in achieving sustainability.
2. Professional Learning Communities (PLCs)
Developing a PLC involves creating a collaborative culture in which participants use collective inquiry to work toward shared goals. This working group investigates the leader’s role in facilitating, fostering, and sustaining PLCs that build shared capacity within learning organizations. PLCs provide opportunities for educators to ask questions, share best practices, and support each other through the struggle of implementing new practices. Group members will explore research, resources, and strategies that promote this type of continuous learning culture.
3. STEM Education
This NSELA Working Group will focus on STEM Education and the belief that the skills and knowledge gained through STEM learning provide the foundation for greater individual and communal success and long-term economic prosperity. STEM Education has many definitions and meanings to different groups, but it is commonly agreed that the goal of STEM Education is to develop a scientifically literate citizenry. The group will share research about what works in STEM teaching and learning, identify quality STEM program resources, and explore methods for engaging business and industry representatives.
4. Research and Policy
This NSELA working group will engage a community of interested members in the examination and prioritization of relevant and current science education research and policy. The objective is to make this information readily accessible to our members and the science education community at large through our website and our association’s publications.
5. Standards, Accountability, and Assessment
In this NSELA working group, members will examine significant topics related to current issues in accountability. The group will consider the implications of current national trends and policies on local and state standards and accountability measures. Members will share and deconstruct exemplary practices in order to find common solutions and strategies that will help inform policy and practice.